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Invited Commentary |

Improving Health Care After Prison
Comment on “Forced Smoking Abstinence: Not Enough for Smoking Cessation”

Michael Puisis, DO
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(9):795-796. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.371.
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About 2.3 million people are incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails. Annually, 700 000 are discharged from state and federal prisons,1 and almost 12 million are discharged from local jails.2 Although prisoners have a constitutional right to medical care, no such right exists once they are discharged. Given that prisoners have a high rate of mental illness, substance abuse, and disease infections, including with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C, and tuberculosis, their health care once they are discharged is of great public health significance.3,4

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